Carter G. Woodson Award Winning Books


As of 2001 awards and honors are given in the following categories, Elementary (K-6), Middle (5-8), and Secondary (7-12) grade level books.

Carter Woodson Award Seal Carter G. Woodson Seal

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) established the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards for the most distinguished books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States. First presented in 1974, this award is intended to “encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social studies books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and race relations sensitively and accurately.” Books relating to ethnic minorities and the authors of such books rarely receive the recognition they merit from professional organizations. By sponsoring the Carter G. Woodson Awards, NCSS gives wide recognition to and encourages these authors and publishers. Here is a printable list of all the award winning books. Learn more at NCSS’s website.

Also check out our list of Top 100+ Recommended African-American Children’s Books, some are also CSK Award winning titles.


6 Award Winning and Honored Books for 2018


Secondary Level Winner

Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961
by Larry Dane Brimner

Publication Date:
List Price: $18.95
Format: Hardcover, 112 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
ISBN13: 9781629795867
Imprint: Calkins Creek
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
Parent Company: Boyds Mills Press
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Read a Description of Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961


Book Description: 

A 2018 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Winner

On May 4, 1961, a group of thirteen black and white civil rights activists launched the Freedom Ride, aiming to challenge the practice of segregation on buses and at bus terminal facilities in the South.

The Ride would last twelve days. Despite the fact that segregation on buses crossing state lines was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1946, and segregation in interstate transportation facilities was ruled unconstitutional in 1960, these rulings were routinely ignored in the South. The thirteen Freedom Riders intended to test the laws and draw attention to the lack of enforcement with their peaceful protest. As the Riders traveled deeper into the South, they encountered increasing violence and opposition. Noted civil rights author Larry Dane Brimner relies on archival documents and rarely seen images to tell the riveting story of the little-known first days of the Freedom Ride. With author’s note, source notes, bibliography, and index.



Secondary Level Honor

Now or Never!: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery
by Ray Anthony Shepard

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $17.95
    Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    Target Age Group: Middle Grade
    ISBN13: 9781629793405
    Imprint: Calkins Creek
    Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
    Parent Company: Boyds Mills Press
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    Read a Description of Now or Never!: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery


    Book Description: 
    Here is the riveting dual biography of two little-known but extraordinary men in Civil War history—George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding. These Union soldiers not only served in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, the well-known black regiment, but were also war correspondents who published eyewitness reports of the battlefields. Their dispatches told the truth of their lives at camp, their intense training, and the dangers and tragedies on the battlefield. Like the other thousands of black soldiers in the regiment, they not only fought against the Confederacy and the inhumanity of slavery, but also against injustice in their own army. The regiment’s protest against unfair pay resulted in America’s first major civil rights victory—equal pay for African American soldiers. This fresh perspective on the Civil War includes an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, index and source notes.

    Middle Level Winner

    Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
    by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $18.00
      Format: Hardcover, 112 pages
      Classification: Nonfiction
      Target Age Group: Middle Grade
      ISBN13: 9781597143684
      Imprint: Heyday
      Publisher: Heyday
      Parent Company: Heyday
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      Read a Description of Fred Korematsu Speaks Up


      Book Description: 
      Fred Korematsu liked listening to music on the radio, playing tennis, and hanging around with his friends—just like lots of other Americans. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941 and the government forced all people of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes on the West Coast and move to distant prison camps. This included Fred, whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Japan many years before. But Fred refused to go. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he got put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up.

      Inspired by the award-winning book for adults Wherever There’s a Fight, the Fighting for Justice series introduces young readers to real-life heroes and heroines of social progress. The story of Fred Korematsu’s fight against discrimination explores the life of one courageous person who made the United States a fairer place for all Americans, and it encourages all of us to speak up for justice.

      Middle Level Honor

      Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library
      by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $16.99
      Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
      Classification: Nonfiction
      Target Age Group: Picture Book
      ISBN13: 9780763680466
      Imprint: Candlewick Press
      Publisher: Walker Books
      Parent Company: Walker Books
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      Read a Description of Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library


      Book Description: 
      In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history.

      Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked.

      Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.

      Elementary Level Winner

      The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist
      by Cynthia Levinson, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

        Publication Date:
        List Price: $17.99
        Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
        Classification: Nonfiction
        Target Age Group: Picture Book
        ISBN13: 9781481400701
        Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
        Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
        Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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        Read a Description of The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist


        Book Description: 

        Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference.

        Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.

        So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!

        Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.



        Elementary Level Honor

        Martin’s Dream Day
        by Kitty Kelley

          Publication Date:
          List Price: $17.99
          Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
          Classification: Nonfiction
          Target Age Group: Picture Book
          ISBN13: 9781481467667
          Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
          Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
          Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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          Read a Description of Martin’s Dream Day


          Book Description: 
          Bestselling author and journalist Kitty Kelley combines her elegant storytelling with Stanley Tretick’s iconic photographs to transport readers to the 1963 March on Washington, bringing that historic day vividly to life for a new generation.

          Martin Luther King Jr. was nervous.

          Standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, he was about to address 250,000 people with what would become known as his "I Have a Dream Speech"—the most famous speech of his life.

          This day—August 28, 1963—was a momentous day in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the culmination of years spent leading marches, sit-ins, and boycotts across the South to bring attention to the plight of African Americans. Years spent demanding equality for all. Years spent dreaming of the day that black people would have the same rights as white people, and would be treated with the same dignity and respect. It was time for Martin to share his dream.



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